As the Baby Boomer generation ages into retirement, there will be continued growth in industries and occupations related to caring for that demographic as they grow older, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The report, which looks at job growth between 2010 and 2020, also projects an overall 14.3% increase in total employment over the course of the decade, while noting that the outlook for the end of the decade looks more robust because the labor market has been so slow to recover from the recession.
Health care, social assistance, personal care and construction were identified as the industries that will have the fastest job growth over the ten-year period, although the BLS noted that the construction industry won’t regain all the jobs it lost as a result of the recession and the accompanying protracted slump in the housing market.
About a quarter of all new jobs created are expected to come from construction, retail and health care. According to the BLS, the four occupations expected to add the largest number of workers are registered nurses, retail salespeople, home health aides and personal care aides.
Meanwhile, the U.S. manufacturing sector is expected to continue to contract, according to the report. Federal workers will also shrink in number — the BLS projects the second-largest job loss in any industry to occur at the U.S. Postal Service, which is facing financial troubles and a struggle to adapt its business model as customers increasingly turn to digital forms of communication. (Farmers are projected to experience the biggest employment decline.)
The Bureau also looked at how employer requirements for worker education and training will change during the decade. The agency found that, although job categories that require some type of postsecondary education are expected to grow the fastest, more than two-thirds of all job openings are projected to be for positions that typically do not require any education beyond a high school diploma — jobs that usually garner lower wages and fewer benefits.
Concerns over a “jobless” recovery also dominated conversation at the 2012 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, according to Wharton management professor Michael Useem, who attended the gathering. In an article for Knowledge at Wharton, he noted that several participants referenced a recent McKinsey report that predicts the U.S. unemployment rate is unlikely to drop to pre-crisis levels before the end of the decade.
“Other participants singled out the soaring youth unemployment in the U.S. and U.K., where jobless rates have reached 20% or more,” Useem wrote. “When the moderator of one session polled its several hundred participants on whether 21st century capitalism was so far failing our 21st century societies, more hands went up in agreement than in dissent.”
Useem added that there were worries among attendees that the American financial crisis and the European struggles with sovereign debt have created “a lost decade.” “Young people trying to enter the labor market for the first time during one of these crises may already be consigned to what another commentator deemed a “lost generation,” he noted.